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Old 02-12-2011, 01:54 AM   #1
klyph
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Default DIY Stainless Steel Tubular Flow Through Sight Glass 1/2" NPT

After looking at the blingy tri clamp sight glasses that are going for $80, I thought I could build one that uses 1/2" NPT for a lot cheaper. I made this assembly in google sketchup from parts off of McMaster-Carr to see how it would look and fit together:




The model can be downloaded from the 3D warehouse here:
http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=1d0392606df439ad27cf7a67d12bc843&prevs tart=0

I think the NPT fittings will work better for most people's homebrew rigs, and the price breakdown was encouraging as well.

The flanges:
http://www.mcmaster.com/#44685K11
Cost $15.73 x 2 = $31.46

I got a quote on the borosilicate tubing for about $10 per piece if I order a whole stick (18 pieces).

The nuts, bolts and silicone gaskets probably add another 5-10 bucks.

So all together it looks like these can be built for <$50 without any bulk discounts. The flanges are the most expensive part, and I figure we should be able to find a supplier that can do better than McMa$ter. I contacted Wayne at Bargainfittings to see what he could do about pricing for a bulk order of SS flanges, and I'm waiting to hear back from him. I was hoping to at least be half as expensive as the tri clamp version from St. Pats that goes for $80.

Basically the point of this thread is to gauge interest in this project and hopefully fish out a supplier for the parts that will make it cost effective.

Please reply with whether you would seriously consider purchasing a SS 1/2" NPT sight glass for about $40 or let me know how much you think is a reasonable price point. Extra credit to anyone who can find the flanges cheaper.

Thanks

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Last edited by klyph; 02-13-2011 at 10:31 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-12-2011, 02:47 AM   #2
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This is a great idea klyph, especially if you add an inlet for a O2 stone for O2 injection on the way to the fermenter.
What is the diameter, length and wall thickness of the glass tubing?
My question is there an already machined pocket in the flanges to retain a "O" ring for the sight glass to seal against? This will be an added machining process plus dealing with SS material. I made a larger sight, pressure and volume chamber out of 1/2" thick aluminum plates, a groove for "O" rings with a wine bottle body as the sight glass, four rods compress the assembly. This was mounted vertical with a brass hose barb to refill, regulated at 50 psi with carb cleaner inside. Tested to 125 psi. This with a variable PWM, variable Hz (help by kladue) plus electronis timer to flush, flow check nozzles and balance fuel injectors. A fun project saving me many hundreds of dollars a DIY injector checking project. Ultrasonic cleaner I already had this cleaned them internally while pulsed.
Thanks for posting.

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Old 02-12-2011, 02:54 AM   #3
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Why not something like the below?

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/line-sight-glass-my-rims-148736/

And check this one out...

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/inline-sight-glass-214608/index2.html

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Old 02-12-2011, 04:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
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one out...
Very nice. That's basically what this is, except all stainless.
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewBeemer View Post
This is a great idea klyph, especially if you add an inlet for a O2 stone for O2 injection on the way to the fermenter.
What is the diameter, length and wall thickness of the glass tubing?
My question is there an already machined pocket in the flanges to retain a "O" ring for the sight glass to seal against? This will be an added machining process plus dealing with SS material. I made a larger sight, pressure and volume chamber out of 1/2" thick aluminum plates, a groove for "O" rings with a wine bottle body as the sight glass, four rods compress the assembly. This was mounted vertical with a brass hose barb to refill, regulated at 50 psi with carb cleaner inside. Tested to 125 psi. This with a variable PWM, variable Hz (help by kladue) plus electronis timer to flush, flow check nozzles and balance fuel injectors. A fun project saving me many hundreds of dollars a DIY injector checking project. Ultrasonic cleaner I already had this cleaned them internally while pulsed.
Thanks for posting.
There is no machined groove, but there is a large flat spot that a flat washer shaped silicone gasket will seal against, and the glass will be thick enough to form a nice wide seal.

Oh and you should send me some pictures and details about that injector cleaner, I know of a guy building one right now.
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Stovetop 110v single vessel 5 gallon system

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Conditioning: macaroon stout
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:22 AM   #6
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Send me your email thru the PM on this forum, i'll dig up a few photos out of my confuser and forward to you or your friends email address. I ended up with 8 injectors flowing within .75% maximum error. Beats the hell out of "up to 10% production injectors".
I've lost 90% of my digitals because of two POS Kodak "El Cheapo" cameras
as well had many card failures. I hate Kodak!!!!!!!!!!
I had many of my Brewhemoth photos to post that became "deleted" just after downloading. Daughter's $900 digital is "hands off no touch" dang 17 year olds. Carl.

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Old 02-12-2011, 04:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klyph View Post
There is no machined groove, but there is a large flat spot that a flat washer shaped silicone gasket will seal against, and the glass will be thick enough to form a nice wide
Are the flanges available flat no bolt holes?
That would be great then machine a square ring groove plus use smaller
3/16" to 1/4" SS bolts. One flange end drilled for bolt shank clearance, the other flange tapped for the bolt then add SS acorn nuts as jam nuts.
Simple clean and positive sealing. Compressing a sheet of rubber isn't an option.
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:27 AM   #8
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I think the glass will be thick enough to offer a sufficient % of the cross section to create a reliable positive seal on a flat gasket surface. And I'd really like to avoid added machining costs. I'm basically trying to make a practical sight glasss for as cheaply as possible, and even paying a machinist to chuck it up would probably push this past the point of cost effective. I think I might bite the $50 bullet and build a prototype to test it and see how it works out.

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Old 02-12-2011, 03:37 PM   #9
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I think I got my triclover sightglass for $65. Not to discourage you, just sayin'.

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Old 02-12-2011, 05:38 PM   #10
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Why not just use a McMaster PN 1138K54 1/2" NPT Brass sight glass for $33.21 and skip the rest of the parts and pieces, you only have 2 threaded joints to infect things with.

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